Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SZ-T 2W18 | 01 | 2017Scotcars rating

    Suzuki breathes new life into city car sector with quirky crossover-style Ignis

    IT’S NOT OFTEN you turn up to a car launch, having battled through snow for 90 minutes to get to the venue in the middle of nowhere, and immediately smile. But that’s the effect the new Suzuki Ignis had the first time I saw it in the metal.

    In fairness, it’s probably something of a Marmite car, certainly in terms of styling: you’ll either love it, or hate it. We’re in the former camp (the latter when it comes to Marmite!).

    Available as two-wheel drive, or 4WD, Suzuki has breathed a whole load fresh air into the ultra-competitive city car class with the Ignis’s quirky crossover-style looks and a distinctive character that sets it apart from rivals.

    The Japanese car maker has built a solid reputation in Scotland for launching cars which generally offer bucketloads of kit as standard for not an awful lot of money. And it’s that tried-and-tested approach which you’ll again find with the Ignis.

    One of the first things we, as motoring journalists, tend to do when we jump in any test car is check the spec sheet. We always know what the price of the standard car is, but generally manufacturers load their press cars to the rafters with goodies, often hugely inflating the prices.


    So, the spec sheet of the Ignis 1.2SZT 2W includes rear parking camera; cruise control with speed limiter; tilt-adjustable leather steering wheel; keyless entry and start; 16in alloys; rear privacy glass; silver roof rails; air-conditioning and automatic headlamps.

    But that’s not all. There’s also satnav; Bluetooth; DAB digital radio; twin USB sockets; stop-start; hill hold and hill descent control; tyre pressure monitor; dual camera brake support and smartphone link display audio.

    Now prepare yourself: everything listed above is standard on the car which will cost you £11,499. In fact, the only option fitted to the test car was the £465 for the Pearl Pure White paint. Even better; the range starts at just £9999 for the 1.2 Dualjet SZ3.

    There’s no denying then that the new Ignis delivers loads of kit for your money. But what’s it like as a city car?

    Pretty good, to be honest. There is a four-wheel drive and super-frugal hybrid variant available, but we’d recommend the perkier, better value-for-money 2WD models, as we test here in the shape of the 1.2 SZ-T 2W, likely to be the volume seller.


    First though, let’s deal with the Suzuki’s looks. It’s definitely one of the most distinctive small cars around, with its cute front end, narrow upper body, angled roofline and chunky wheelarches. You can’t deny it’s got personality.

    At 3.7 metres long, it’s slightly bigger than a Hyundai i10, and is built on Suzuki’s new small car platform. It also shares parts with its sister Baleno and forthcoming next-generation Swift supermini.

    Inside the Ignis, things get a bit more conventional, though like the exterior, it’s way more stylish than many city car interiors. The cabin’s brightened up by the two-tone effect for the upper and lower dash, and is further boosted by the body coloured door pulls and centre console plastic.

    And while the central screen juts out from the top of the dash, rather than being seamlessly integrated into the centre console, its functionality does the job.


    Elsewhere, you might find yourself questioning the quality of some of the plastics and materials used, but given the price and kerbweight — the lightest Ignis is just 810kg — their presence is forgivable. There’s also an underlying, solid feeling that the car has been built to last.

    All models get Suzuki’s willing 1.2-litre Dualjet four-cylinder petrol engine with 89bhp, but you can also add the 48-Volt SHVS mild hybrid system, and unusually for a city car, you can also specify a proper four-wheel drive system.

    While the latter options are attractive, the Ignis is unquestionably at its best in stripped-out, non-hybrid two-wheel drive format. It’s lighter, more agile and nimble, and the handling gives the impression the car was designed to function best at its lightest.

    One of the other major benefits in not having the 4WD is you get more stowage in the boot; space improves from 204-litres to 260-litres in the 2WD version. Clever packaging also allows this to increase thanks to the sliding and reclining rear seats. It’s not quite a Tardis, but the interior is bigger than you might think.


    With a choice of three trim levels — the entry-level SZ3, mid-range SZ-T, as we test here, and the range-topping SZ5, which adds, amongst other goodies, autonomous braking, LED headlights and front foglamps — there’s a package to suit every budget.

    The 1.2 SZ-T 2W is, as you would suspect, at its best in town where it’s nimbleness and zestiness, combined with its lightness of touch and compact dimensions make it an ideal city car. Throw in the elevated seating position, and you’re ‘King of the Supermarket Car Park’.

    Out on the open road, it’ll scamper from standstill to 62mph in 13.5 seconds, around two seconds down on the 4x4 hybrid, and continue on to a top speed of 106mph.

    Away from the city, you’ll find yourself having to work the Ignis hard uphill and on motorways, but let’s be honest; this isn’t a car you’re going to buy to cover huge motorway miles. In its natural environment in the city, it’s a wee peach.

    Related: Roadtest — Vauxhall Adam

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    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £11,499 / £11,964
    Engine / Power: 1.2-litre 4cyl petrol, with 5sp manual / 89bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 11.8sec / Max 106mph
    How big/heavy?: L3700mm W1690mm H1595mm / 855kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 61.4mpg combined / 104g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: 15E / B/£20
    Alternatives: Fiat 500, Vauxhall Adam, Skoda Citigo, Ford Ka+

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